Buying Guides

The Ultimate Guide to Computers for Seniors

When it comes to the ideal computer for an older adult, finding the right option is difficult – especially if you’re not a tech geek. Here’s all you need to know.

Computers are now essential for everyday living. And not just for the younger generations. Studies show that 73% of people over the age of 65 use the internet

Silver surfers have good reason to get connected. Nowadays, computers are a way of staying in touch with family, whether through Skype, Zoom, or social media.

When it comes to the best computers for seniors, finding the right option can be difficult – especially if you’re not a tech geek. That’s why we’ve done the research, to give you a better idea of what to look for and to share five great computer options for older adults. 

Things for silver surfers to consider when buying a computer

For those that are not super tech-savvy, here are some of the things to think about when searching for an ideal computer.

infographic guide for buying the best computer for seniors - techbuddy

What will the computer be used for?

This is the first thing to consider. The bottom line: think about what you’re going to use the computer for before making a decision. In many cases, an expensive high-end computer won’t be necessary, especially if you’ll just need it for every-day tasks like browsing, emailing, video calling, and or consuming video content.

‘Out-of-the-box’ functionality

For most older adults – and even younger ones – the best computer will be ready to use straight out of the box. No fussing around with having to install programs etc. If your local store doesn’t offer a computer with ‘out-of-the-box’ functionality and a younger tech-savvy person isn’t on hand to help, a BuddyCompany will be more than happy to offer their expertise! 

Potential physical restrictions

Modern computers have multiple features for those with physical restrictions, from built-in text-to-speech programs that enable text to be read out loud to customizable displays with extra-large icons (PC and Mac) and large print keyboards. Also, touch-sensitive screens with stylus pens offer better functionality for many elderly users.

Camera quality

If you just want to be able to make video calls with friends and family, a simple setup with a high-resolution camera of at least 1080p is ideal. Most laptops and all-in-one desktop computers have high quality built-in webcams, giving you crystal-clear picture quality. 

Size and resolution

If you want something small that can easily be transported or stored, a tablet or laptop is perfect. For maximum portability, opt for a laptop with a screen at least 14 inches, and weighing no more than 2kg. For a yet more transportable version, select a tablet that’s 7–8 inches and weighs less than 1kg. Desktops are great for those who want a big clear display and a larger simplified interface, especially when it comes to video calls or watching films and TV shows, for example. Lots of desktop computers are all-in-one units nowadays – so, no more massive towers taking up tons of space. 

A good screen resolution is important for seeing things in detail – ideally 1024x768 or above. However, those with poor eyesight may actually prefer a smaller resolution with bigger text and icons. In this case, 800x600 (the display scale can be adjusted in the computer’s settings – a Buddy can help) will work out much better. A good idea is to test things out, either on a friend or family member’s computer or at the computer store, to make sure you get the ideal screen size and resolution.

Performance & speed

If you want to make sure your computer runs fast and smooth, you’ll need to look at two main things: RAM (‘random access memory’)  and the processor. The former is your computers ‘short-term’ memory, with more RAM making your computer better at multitasking (i.e. running several programs simultaneously). The processor is a chip in your computer which loads and retrieves information - basically, it tells all other computer parts what they have to do. To achieve high computer performance and speed, you will need both - sufficient RAM and processing power. How much exactly? For the average user, anything from 8GB to 16GB RAM and a processor between 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz will be plenty for every-day usage.

Storage space

For those who want to use the computer mainly for browsing the internet and making video calls, 128GB of storage space should be enough. For those looking to store lots of family photos, videos, and downloads of their favorite TV programs, 256GB should be ideal. You can also always get extra storage space later on by buying an external hard drive or storing some of your files in a secured, private space on the internet via a cloud storage provider like Dropbox and Google Drive. The latter option is also a great way for older people to easily share photos and videos with their family.

Good customer support

Whether you do it yourself or someone does it on your behalf, contacting customer service should be a positive experience. It’s not always the case, of course, but the bigger name computer manufacturers offer helpful customer support, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Lenovo, and Dell

And don’t forget, BuddyCompany is always around to offer support and advice on any brand and any device.

Best computers for seniors in 2020

senior woman videocalling her family

From super simple tablets to state-of-the-art laptops and desktops, here are the best computers for silver surfers in 2020.

Best for Portability – ASUS Vivobook

With a 14-inch touchscreen display – including a stylus pen – this lightweight laptop is very easy to use a computer, especially for those not keen on using a keyboard. Best of all, with a simple flip of the screen, it converts into a freestanding tablet. 

Best for Screen/Weight Ratio – HP 17-BY1053DX

This laptop has an amazing weight to size ratio – the screen is a massive 17.3 inches and yet it weighs only 370g. It’s also very easy to use and has a super clear 1600 x 900 resolution HD display for crystal clear images and video.

Best All-Rounder – HP 24” All-in-One

This computer comes all in one – perfect for saving space and keeping it simple. The large widescreen display is great for high-definition video calls and images. It has touchscreen capabilities and comes with a mouse, for those who prefer to click and drag, as well as a white keyboard, both of which are wireless for added simplicity and comfort.

Best for Performance – Apple MacBook Pro

For the ones looking for a super high-tech computer for video calls, this might be the best that money can buy. It certainly isn’t cheap, but the high definition display, crystal clear audio, and excellent Apple customer support make it money well spent. Plus, those Zoom calls with kids and grandkids will be amazing.

Best for Keeping it Simple– GrandPad

For some, simplicity is bliss. The GrandPad is designed for minimum fuss and maximum satisfaction. Stripping things down to the bare necessities, the GrandPad enables seniors to video chat, send voice emails, and share photos with brilliant simplicity.  

There are so many great options out there for senior computer users. So, whether you’re looking for a hi-tech, super sleek tablet to Zoom call with the grandkids or a streamlined budget PC to send emails and share family photos, there’s something for everyone. 

If you have more questions on choosing the right computer or you need support with getting connected, get in touch with BuddyCompany!

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